Quality over Quantity vs. 80/20 (or Chad vs. Matt ;))



Put this in the wrong thread, wanted to post here

Polarized Threshold training?

Perhaps the best of both worlds?


I’ve not read your post full yet but will do in the context of reading the full paper when I get time but I though I should respond to the first comment you made. I’m so glad that there are so many people on here willing to challenge and be challenged and have a civil and engaging conversation about the issues. Long may that continue.



OK, so I’ve read through the report on my way to work this morning (missing about the bits about biological testing as that’s beyond my understanding…

Broadly I would agree that the programme could have been better defined, however:

My understanding is that they carried out the Z2 work at power levels mid-way between LT1 and LT2. Given that traditional zones are defined as percentages of the range between 0 and LT2 it does make it a little harder to define exactly where they were training (that’s another discussion though).

If we take Sweetspot to be between 84% and 95% of threshold power (that’s TR’s numbers) and POL Z2 to be between 80% and 100% of threshold power (from Chad’s spreadsheet) we find that the middle of POL Z2 is at 90% of threshold power, right in the middle of sweetspot. The lower end of POL Z2 could be quite a bit lower and they would still be riding in the sweetspot.

Yes, sweetspot plans have no Tempo but as noted above I don’t think they were riding at Tempo pace.

Just looking at the TR sweetspot base plan, I noted that the lower volume plans had over-unders mixed in which obviously wouldn’t fall within POL Z2 but the high volume plan has none. Not sure what the rationale is for that but I’d be interested to hear what it is.

Clearly the amount of work done in the high volume plan is far greater than in the study and almost completely avoids POL Z1, which the study did a high proportion of (ideal for the time-crunched sadist).

There is a section detailing the results of the 4 week detraining period where they noted that the results had returned to the pre-training levels although I noticed that they made no mention of the LT1 results so you may be correct.

You could also argue the neither group had trained at the RPE required for the test and that both were at a similar disadvantage. This is an oft-sighted problem for the polarized approach - how do you get the race intensity efforts when all of your training must be in other zones, so I can’t see how it could be seen as an advantage when it comes to the test.

Personally I think the study is quite close to sweetsport vs. polarized but I do agree that due to the nature of the six-week training blocks and the limitations on time, there is no comparison between full training plans.

We may never see that sort of study due to practicalities of carrying out crossover studies on a six month plan!



It’s actually a shame that this discussion is now split over a few threads as there’s great information spread over all of them.



Agreed. I would have preferred that all this be attached to the primary discussion.

But I didn’t redirect and close this thread since it started out a bit different. Missed opportunity :frowning:

I am not finding a “merge” option for the threads, so I don’t know what to do right now?


Wait a sec…

I may have just found it. If I select posts (some or all), it appears that I can move them to an existing topic.

What do people think about me pulling some or all of the related posts from here to the original topic?


Not sure you should bother - once I write my book on the subject there will be one go-to resource…

Can it be previewed? Wouldn’t like the flow of the origin threads to be undermined.


Moving makes sense in the beginning, before allowing the discussion to continue. Once the discussion has taken on a life, it doesn’t make sense IMHO to start moving things.




My understanding is 80/20 and POL are slightly different. 80/20 allowing some threshold training (in the 20%), whereas POL only allowing Z1 and Z3. So makes sense to keep 2 threads to me.


80/20 and POL are effectively the same idea. Overall objective of spending time primarily on the ends of training ranges.


As to what it would “look like”, I don’t fully know. I can make a dummy thread and test the practice to make sure I know.

What I expect is that I can grab any grouping of posts and move them to the desired post. I think they will appear at the bottom of the “original” post to where I move them.

It is probably possible to move the related posts and responses from here in “groups” to keep them linear and associated. But that flow may be interrupted depending on the non-related discussion from this “second” post.

I don’t know if we should leave this topic open or close it and push for continued discussion in the original post?



112 posts, you are destroying this discussion if you move things. Leave it alone, or possibly close it. I’m not a fan of closing this discussion, that’s my vote.


Survival of the fittest… the strongest thread will survive :wink:


Not my preference. What happens is you get good stuff in more than one place (just 2 now, but potentially more in the future) and that makes finding info in the future far more difficult.


I disagree on the “destroy” term. We would be relocating is all.

I am not doing anything yet, but I dislike the parallel aspect as there are good items here that really belong in the other thread.

Just getting messy, and I am considering the best way to keep this data accessible for future use.


So all future discussions on polarized will be merged into a mega thread that becomes unreadable in the future due to length?


Hey Magic :slight_smile:

I really can’t know, as if I’m right in POL LT1 and LT2 are defined by lactate threshold and turn-point, so I’m not sure the ranges (POL and THR) always coincide for all athletes, at all times. It seems to me that the two “zone” systems are not comparable in the sense that Coggan zone X always fits in POL zone Y. Correct me if I’m wrong, but POL zones are anchored to vo2max (which is fairly stable), whereas THR are tied to FTP *which can change dramatically).

If you check table 2 the POL athletes are training at RPEs of 7 to 8, whereas THR ones are at 5 to 6. From a bit of light searching I did, a 40K TT is -typically- closer to RPEs of 7-8. It seems reasonable to say that there is a decent chance that the POL trainees where more tuned with their internal pacing (RPE) for the 40K TT. Not saying this is the case, just that If I was designing the experiment I’d want to nullify the possibility that one group would have a possible advantage over the other (even more-so a pacing advantage, which is super important for TTs).

I still think this was a poorly defined and designed study, or not good enough to present as definite proof that POL-lite works equally well (or better) for time-crunched athletes as some THR programs.

Loving the “debate” though


I’ve been surprised just how much interest there’s been in POL on this forum. I became interested in it near the start of the year, but always thought it was a pretty niche way of training. Good to see so many people discussing the subject.


Not sure. It’s a work in progress. Hard to say which is better.

Assuming the same number of posts,

  1. You could search a single thread with all of it in one place (via the CTRL+F options) and find results in that one place.


  1. You could use the main site search and filter through dozens or more of separate topics and find results in many different locations/posts.

Option 1 makes sense to me, especially with how the search function works.

I have not discussed what TR would like to see in particular. But hints I have heard seem to indicate #1 would be preferred.

It’s an attempt to use the power of the Discourse tools and prevent the chaos that was quite evident in the FB group that had little control or ability to properly group topics.

Simple search on “strength training” over there and see the MANY repeat posts that had already been addressed. Part of the reason Nate made the move over here was to allow better organization and access to this highly useful data and related discussions.